WASHINGTON — More than 500 current and former women employees of Wal-Mart Stores Inc. from five states — Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Mississippi and North Carolina — have filed discrimination charges with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission as of Jan. 27, attorneys for the women said Thursday.

This story first appeared in the February 3, 2012 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

“The fight continues to seek justice for the women employees of Wal-Mart,” Joseph Sellers of Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll in Washington, and Brad Seligman of the Impact Fund of Berkeley, Calif., attorneys representing the women, said in a joint statement. “The Supreme Court did not give Wal-Mart a free pass to discriminate. Filing an EEOC claim is one more way current and former women employees of Wal-Mart can assert their right.”

The latest action follows a protracted battle between female employees of Wal-Mart and the retail giant, beginning in 2001 with a gender discrimination lawsuit regarding pay and promotion that received class action status in 2004 by the U.S. District Court in Northern California. The case eventually made it to the U.S. Supreme Court, where in June it ruled that it could not advance as a class action because the plaintiffs did not meet the critical legal standard of commonality.

The attorneys in the Dukes v. Wal-Mart Supreme Court case subsequently filed an amended complaint in the District Court in October that largely encompasses Wal-Mart’s regional stores in California and an estimated 95,000 current and former female employees who worked at Wal-Mart and Sam’s Club stores from December 1998 to the present.

“We continue to believe that anyone with a legitimate claim should have their day in court,” a Wal-Mart spokesman said. “I would also point out that these claims have never been heard on their merits.”

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